Zim to receive coronavirus testing kits

Zimbabwe is set to receive a consignment of goods including testing kits from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, who reportedly sent over five million face masks and one million coronavirus kits to Africa as efforts to fight the pandemic.

The supplies arrived in Ethiopia Sunday and would be distributed across the continent, where 43 of Africa’s 54 countries have now confirmed cases totaling over 1 100.

The relief donation is part of action towards the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19, led by the African Union through the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Zimbabwe has recorded its first death from the infection after it registered two positive cases of the infection that was first detected in China late last year but has spread to over 160 countries worldwide.

In a short televised message flighted on the national broadcaster – ZBC’s twitter account Monday, Addis Ababa, Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the African Union Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, said the Africa CDC was already working on logistics to make sure the donation was distributed soon.

“The first consignment of the donation arrived Sunday 22 March at Bole International Airport at Addis Ababa (in Ethiopia). The consignment was received by senior officials from the government of Ethiopia, senior officials from the Africa CDC and the AU member states were represented by the ambassadors of South Africa and Djibouti. South Africa as current chair of the African Union and Djibouti in its capacity as Dean of the African Diplomatic corps,” he said.

Chimbindi said he was pleased to note that Zimbabwe would also receive equipment from the first consignment including 100 testing kits.

“I am happy to report that the CDC officials are working flat out to make sure the equipment is distributed expeditiously as possible. I had the opportunity this morning today to speak to the Africa CDC Director, Dr John Nkengasong as to when we are receiving our consignment and whether Zimbabwe was going to benefit from the first consignment.

“He (Dr Nkengasong) confirmed to me that indeed Zimbabwe was going to benefit from the first consignment and that they are working out possibly to dispatch 100 kits today (Monday) by DHL while they are making arrangements to dispatch the remainder of the consignment by Ethiopian airlines as per arrangements,” said Zimbabwe’s AU representative.

He also expressed gratitude to the Jack Ma Foundation for the donation to fight COVID-19.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Jack Ma foundation for the generous donation and also to thank the Africa CDC for a job well done in coordinating the response to the COVID-19,” Chimbindi said.

Meanwhile, civic society organisations such as the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) urged the government to be transparent and properly account for resources extended to the country by local and international partners in the fight against the pandemic.

In the face of a looming life-threatening coronavirus, transparency and accountability forms the basis upon which this “war” can be won,” the organisation said.

“This involves public disclosure of the ultimate sources of revenue which include tax and non-tax revenue and funds from local, bilateral, international and multilateral partners, allocations and expenditures to allow for checks and balances on a weekly basis.”

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